Beyond the Ordinary: Ten Strengths of U.S. Congregations

by Cynthia Woolever, Deborah Bruce. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
Large beyond the ordinary

This book is a user friendly look at vitality in congregations. Based on their work related to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, the authors identify ten strengths key to vital congregations. They note that the identified ten strengths can be found in any type of congregation, whether it’s growing or declining, large or small, rural or urban. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce (sadly, deceased) developed this book through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) project aligned with the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. The findings are backed by data from that comprehensive project. What are the ten strengths? Some of them include meaningful worship, welcoming new people, caring for young people, and focusing on the community. This volume is designed for many different kinds of congregations. In fact, the list of participating congregations that provide background data is the most diverse data set available in a congregational assessment tool. You can use the book on its own with your board. Or you can use it in conjunction with your congregation’s use of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. See {{uscongregations.org | http://www.uscongregations.org/}}.

Reviewed by Tim Shapiro



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